YOUTH ISSUES THE FOCUS OF WORLD POPULATION DAY

In keeping with the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) focus on adolescent well-being, and to help include a new goal for young people in the post-2015 development agenda, the theme of the World Population Day 2014 is “Investing in Young People.”

The Department of Social Development, led by Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, will host an event commemorating World Population Day on July 11.

This year’s World Population Day commemorations will be tied in with the UNFPA’s Youth Campaign designed to gather millions of “selfies” from young people, decision-makers, high-profile celebrities and others, in support of UNFPA’s proposal for a youth goal to be included in the post-2015 development agenda.

There are 1.8 billion people aged 10-24 in the world, making one quarter of the world’s population. In South Africa, nearly forty percent (40%) of the population is made up young people between the ages of 15 and 35.

The idea behind the “selfie” campaign is to gather these photos as a show of support and then use the collection to communicate to decision-makers that young people all over the world want to make sure that they are “put in the picture” of future development plans.

Key among the issues facing young people to be highlighted during the 2014 World Population Day campaign are poverty, access to education and health care (including reproductive health rights), teenage pregnancy, child marriage, female genital mutilation, youth unemployment, violence, death and injury.

The South African Human Rights Commission Report – Poverty Traps and Social Exclusion among Children in South Africa 2014 – notes that, whilst there is still widespread evidence of considerable and deep-rooted poverty amongst children (people younger than 18 years), in the two decades since South Africa’s transition to democracy, the country has experienced considerable success in reducing poverty, both in money terms and in multi-dimensional forms of deprivation such as lack of access to important services such as water and sanitation.

This applies particularly to children, who in a period of declining fertility were also the nominal beneficiaries of the Child Support Grant, which contributed much to a strong decline in money metric poverty and in the number of children who go to bed hungry.

The Social Development event will bring together fifty young people from across the country who have taken up the role of championing the youth development agenda in their communities. They will have an opportunity to engage Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu on their accomplishments as well as the challenges they would like the Department’s intervention on.

Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the event, scheduled as follows:

Date: 11 July 2014
Time: 08h30
Venue: Morula Sun, Mabopane

For media RSVPs, please contact Mr Jaconia Kobue on 073 026 1111 or jaconiak@dsd.gov.za

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Please send media inquiries to Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or lumkao@dsd.gov.za